Wonder Contributors

In honor of International Day of Peace, we’re taking a look at a United States program founded to promote world peace!

Are you a volunteer? The world is a busy place and, if you take the time to look around, you’ll realize that there are all sorts of needs around us every day.

Sometimes those needs are fulfilled by people who volunteer their time simply to help others. By giving freely of their time, many volunteers pay it forward and help to encourage others to volunteer their time as well.

Many volunteers work at the local level. This means they might volunteer in local schools, churches or other organizations. But did you know that it’s also possible to volunteer on a national and even global level?

The Peace Corps is a volunteer program run by a United States government agency with the same name. Established by an Executive Order issued by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, the Peace Corps has sent over 215,000 volunteers to serve in 139 different countries. The original inspiration for the Peace Corps was a volunteer organization called Operation Crossroads Africa founded by Reverend James H. Robinson.

As set forth in the Peace Corps Act passed by Congress in 1961, the purpose of the Peace Corps is “to promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.”

Peace Corps volunteers are U.S. citizens that usually have a college degree. After a three-month training program, they travel to other countries to volunteer for two years. At the end of two years, they can leave the Peace Corps or request an extension of service.

Volunteers can engage in many different types of work. Common issues volunteers help with include education, hunger, technology, agriculture and the environment. Volunteers may find themselves working with governments, schools, non-profit organizations or private businesses.

Through their work, Peace Corps volunteers try to fulfill the three goals of the Peace Corps: (1) providing technical assistance; (2) helping people from other countries to understand United States culture; and (3) helping United States citizens to understand other countries’ cultures.

10 Join the Discussion

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  1. Yahoo, first one again. Anyway, I first didn’t know what a peace corps was, but thanks to my dad, I now know what peace corps is and I will help the others, all of the people. :-D :-)

    • Way to go, Carlos! We think it’s great that you and your dad have been WONDERing together about the Peace Corps. It’s so important to give back and “pay it forward”– it makes you and those you are affecting feel great. What a WONDERful thing that is! :)

    • Wonder Friends who use their imaginations are always doing a great job! Even if you don’t get the Wonder of the Day® correct, you are doing a SUPER job using your awesome talents, Tiauna! Thanks for guessing and WONDERing with us today– you ROCK! :)

  2. I think that the Peace Corps may actually cause the opposite effect of what it hopes to do: war. Volunteers may offend officials or locals in the country they have traveled to and disgrace the US.
    On the other hand, with the proper training methods, volunteers may be able to avoid these unfortunate situations.
    Although being a Peace Corps volunteer is dangerous, I would like to participate in this. The opportunity to share special American rituals would be enjoyable.
    I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about the ocean or gold mines.

    • What a great job you’ve done, Tori– you’ve weighed both sides of the story and formed an opinion! :) We think it’s great that you’ve been doing some WONDERing of your own about the impact of the Peace Corps and what the overall goal of the program is. There are many factors to consider when volunteering on a large scale like the Peace Corps. In the meantime, there are lots of ways to pay it forward– even in your own community!

      Thanks for your GREAT guess for tomorrow’s Wonder– we can’t wait to uncover it! :)

  3. Thank you WONDERopolis for the wonder of the day®!! I’ve always WONDERed what the peace corps was!! I think the tomorrow’s WONDER will be about gold mines and other mines with different treasures in them!! I hope I’m right!! Talk to you again tomorrow!
    Thanks for being SOOOO WONDERful at teaching us awesome things!! <3

    • WOHOO! We are so HAPPY that you’ve learned something new with us, A ‘n’ A! :) It’s great to discover a new group, idea or opportunity to get involved– perhaps you can volunteer in your own community, too!

      Great guess for tomorrow’s Wonder… we will dive in to something extraordinary! Thanks for being a great Wonder Friend– we love learning with you! :)

  4. I learned something new today. This site is full of great facts and other things. I’m definitely going to use this site more often.

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is the Peace Corps?
  • When was the Peace Corps established?
  • What are the goals of the Peace Corps?

Wonder Gallery

friendship_shutterstock_73693612peacecorps-1peacecorps-2US-PeaceCorps-Logo-alt (Custom)Vimeo Video

Try It Out

We hope you enjoyed today’s peaceful Wonder of the Day! Find a friend or family member to help you explore the following activities:

  • Do you think you might want to serve in the Peace Corps someday? Jump online to watch the Peace Corps’ Be a Volunteer short film. What things do you find attractive about the Peace Corps? What concerns would you have? Discuss the Peace Corps with a friend or family member. What recommendations do they have? If you would like to travel and be a volunteer in a foreign country, the Peace Corps may be for you. Where do you want to go? What type of volunteering would you want to do? Dream big! You never know where those dreams might take you one day!
  • Of course, you can be a volunteer without joining the Peace Corps. Volunteer opportunities exist all around you. You might be surprised by the local organizations near you that could use your help. Ask a friend or family member to help you find a local organization that could use some help, and then volunteer a few hours of your time on a regular basis. Volunteering with a friend can also be a lot of fun!
  • Up for a challenge? Start your own volunteer project or organization! What needs do you see in your community? Are there people who need food? Shelter? Jobs? Strategize with a friend or family member about ways in which you, along with the help of other volunteers you recruit, could make a difference in your community. Don’t let anything stand in your way. Be bold and make a difference in the world!

Still Wondering

In ReadWriteThink’s Peace Poems and Picasso Doves: Literature, Art, Technology, and Poetry lesson, children apply think-aloud strategies to reading and to composition of artwork and poetry.

Test Your Knowledge

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day will take you way back to the very beginning!

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